The period of time between January 1 and Spring Festival is a busy one for Chinese bureaucrats as they furiously compile statistics and data collected over the previous year. A slew of these new figures have just been released regarding Yunnan's economic growth.
The National Bureau of Statistics announced preliminary findings over the weekend, stating the province's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 12.1 percent in 2013. By percentage, Yunnan had the third fastest growing economy, year-on-year, of the country's 33 provinces, municipalities and administrative regions.
In 2012, the provincial GDP surpassed one trillion yuan for the first time. The 2013 number rose to 1.172 trillion yuan (US$194 billion) on gains largely attributed to continuing expansion in the industrial and real estate sectors. Agricultural output saw a jump as well, with grain harvests reaching their highest output totals in five years.
Gross domestic product is considered the market value of all officially recognized goods and services produced within a given area. A rising GDP usually correlates highly with rising standards of living.
With increases in living standards often comes a concomitant rise in energy demand. Yunnan reportedly burned a somewhat astonishing 67.5 million tons of coal in 2013, much of it to generate electricity. That represents an eight percent increase over the previous year.
In 2013, people across the province combined to use 145.98 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. Higher power use was largely attributed to surging demand in rural areas. Much of the 11 percent rise in demand for electricity over 2012 was met by multiple, recently built hydropower stations along some of Yunnan's largest rivers.
Overall, the Chinese economy barely surpassed GDP growth expectations of 7.7 percent and last year economic expansion was the lowest it has been in 14 years. Conversely, Yunnan continued its 18-year surge of skyrocketing GDP, once again eclipsing most of the rest of China's relatively 'modest' gains, at least in terms of percentages.
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